St. Louis Rams: A Super Early 53-Man Roster Projection

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers (6): Akeem Ayers, Alec Ogletree, Daren Bates, James Laurinaitis, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Korey Toomer

After the Rams couldn’t even find a depth player serviceable enough to give the team a backup at every linebacker position going into 2014, there’s actually some quality depth at LB as they head into 2015. Though the signing of Akeem Ayers would have made Jo-Lonn Dunbar an easy cap casualty (and still could), it appears that the Rams are going to take advantage of the depth and have Dunbar around as a experienced veteran backup. When you figure in that safety Mark Barron will probably see action at linebacker once again in special packages, the Rams have six players capable of making real contributions from scrimmage at the linebacker position.

Beyond those guys, special teams ace Daren Bates is probably a lock considering his excellence in all facets of the kicking game. Players like Korey Toomer, Marshall McFadden, and seventh-rounder Bryce Hager will likely compete for the sixth and potentially seventh spots, and the competition will be focused more than anything on their special teams ability. I gave Toomer the edge here because he was a quality special teams contributor down the stretch, though McFadden actually did more during the short time that he was on the roster and could work his way into the good graces of the staff during training camp. Hager will face an uphill battle because of his status as a seventh-rounder, but if he shows enough fearlessness as a special-teamer, he could definitely earn a spot as well.

Next: Cornerbacks